When children are spoiled we do them a great disservice because they are not being allowed to earn and learn.
Parents are moved by instinct to love, nurture, and provide for their
offspring. Because our children are so much a part of us, we want to see
them blissfully happy. Also, our own desire to be liked, materialist
pressures, and a fervent wish that our children have everything we
lacked as youngsters can prompt us to spoil them.
The Buddha described what we call "self" as a collection of aggregates – elements of mind and body – that function interdependently, creating the appearance of woman or man. We then identify with that image or appearance, taking it to be "I" or "mine," imagining it to have some inherent self-existence. For example, we get up in the morning, look in the mirror, recognize the reflection, and think, "Yes, that's me again." We then add all kinds of concepts to this sense of self: I'm a woman or man, I'm a certain age, I'm a happy or unhappy person – the list goes on and on.
When we examine our experience, though, we see that there is not some core being to whom experience refers; rather it is simply "empty phenomena rolling on." It is "empty" in the sense that there is no one behind the arising and changing phenomena to whom they happen. A rainbow is a good example of this. We go outside after a rainstorm and feel that moment of delight if a rainbow appears in the sky. Mostly, we simply enjoy the sight without investigating the real nature of what is happening. But when we look more deeply, it becomes clear that there is no "thing" called "rainbow" apart from the particular conditions of air and moisture and light.
Each one of us is like that rainbow - an appearance, a magical display, arising out of our various elements of mind and body.
~ Joseph Goldstein, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. VI, #3
When we find ourselves spinning off into thoughts that are further and further from the reality that generated them, we need to become aware and notice what sparks our indulgent thinking. Our observation may not arrest the stream of concerns immediately, and they may continue to be a nuisance. But through observation we can begin to find the inner intelligence and clear comprehension that doesn’t believe in all that compulsive speculation. Through learning to observe in this way, we can save ourselves much confusion in life.
A person disposed to anger will more and more easily erupt in anger anew at any provocation. But in a moment of kindness a kindly disposition is deposited, and one becomes incrementally more disposed to kindness. The attitude with which we respond to an object of experience, with anger or with kindness, will therefore not only influence the causal field outside ourselves but also progressively reshape our very nature.
Meditation begins to open up your life, so that you’re not caught in
self-concern, just wanting life to go your way. In that case you no
longer realize that you’re standing at the center of the world, that
you’re in the middle of a sacred circle, because you’re so concerned
with your worries, pains, limitations, desires, and fears that you are
blind to the beauty of existence. All you feel by being caught up like
this is misery, as well as enormous resentment about life in general.
How strange! Life is such a miracle, and a lot of the time we feel only
resentment about how it’s all working out for us.
and rejoice, without any expectation. It doesn’t matter
if people are unkind to you, it doesn’t matter if people betray you, it
doesn’t matter if people don’t even say ‘thank you’ to you; by
appreciating everything around you, from happy experiences to sad, your
life will become meaningful, full of understanding, joy, strength and
"Life is fragile, like a dewdrop poised on the tip of a blade of grass, ready to be carried away by the first breath of morning breeze. It is not enough just to have a sincere desire to practice the Dharma and the intention to begin soon. Do not just passively wait for the wind of death to carry away your plans before you have gotten around to them. As soon as the idea of practicing comes to you, do it without hesitation."
When you take photographs, just before you click the shutter, your mind is empty and open, just seeing without words. When you stand in front of a blank sheet of paper, about to make a painting or a calligraphy, you have no idea what you will do. Maybe you have some plan for a painting, or you know what symbol you want to calligraph, but you don't actually know what will appear when you put brush to paper. What you do out of trust in open mind will be fresh and spontaneous. Opening to first thought is the way to begin any action properly.
~ Jeremy Hayward, from Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. IV, #3
From Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith